3. Good Health and Well-Being
Bad eating habits, over-eating, malnutrition or consumption of contaminated foods are the main causes of adverse food related health effects. In order to prevent this and thus improve human health via a healthy diet we need to develop tools and knowledge.
Wageningen University & Research contributes to international research agendas by looking into subjects as ‘how can we reduce poor eating habits’, ‘which foods have the best nutritional and health promoting value’, ’how can we innovate, produce and distribute these foods in a sustainable way’ and ‘how can we balance food safety and healthy nutrition’. New findings on impacts on human health need to be translated into best practices for food composition (e.g. reformulation), production, and consumption.
Examples of WUR projects
Healthy food helps heart patients
Does a healthy diet help heart patients? To find out, researchers from Wageningen University & Research monitored several thousand heart patients after dividing them over two groups on the basis of their eating habits. The first group had a healthy eating pattern, whereas patients from the second group consumed more sugar, unhealthy fats and salt. Both groups received optimal medical care. The researchers found that the mortality risk for ‘healthy eaters’ during 6,5 years was 30 percent lower. That means that next to good treatment, a healthy diet contributed to the chance of a longer lifespan.
SOLARMAL: more food without malaria
Every minute, a child dies of malaria. The disease is costing Africa US $12 billion per year in healthcare costs and lost agricultural production. Finding a way of combating malaria without using insecticides is essential to world food production. The use of newly developed mosquito traps incorporating human odour has resulted in a 70% decline in the population of the most significant malaria mosquito on the Kenyan island of Rusinga. After the introduction of the odour-baited traps on the island the proportion of people with malaria was 30% lower among those living in houses with a trap compared to those living in houses who were yet to receive a trap. Results of the study were published in The Lancet. The odour baited trap may also offer a solution to diseases like dengue fever and the Zika virus.